Memorial service for SFC Savard to be held on Veterans Day



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SFC Ryan Savard, who was killed in combat on Oct. 13 in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was buried with full military honors from a grateful nation on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 23, at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
November 07, 2012
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JEFFERSON — A Memorial Service and Celebration of the Life of Sergeant First Class Ryan Savard, a 29-year-old Green Beret who was killed in action on Oct. 13 in Afghanistan, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Jefferson Town Hall on Route 2.

The Town of Jefferson has established the Ryan Savard Memorial Fund for the purpose of erecting an appropriate marker recognizing his service and sacrifice, to be located at the modern-day Soldiers Monument in Jefferson Village.

If funds are sufficient, the town will also establish an annual award to be given to the member of the White Mountains Regional High School JROTC Spartan Battalion who best exemplifies the spirit of SFC Savard through their loyalty, selflessness, service and sacrifice.

If possible, a contribution to the "Wounded Warrior" program will also be made in Savard's name.

Contributions can be sent to: SFC Ryan Savard Memorial Fund, Town of Jefferson, P.O. Box 81, Jefferson, NH 03583.

Retired Navy Chief Bruce Hicks of Jefferson, who knew Savard well during the four teenage years when he attended the eight grade Lancaster School, starting in Sept. 1996, and during his freshman, sophomore, and junior years at WMRHS, worked with Savard's parents, Garett and Marie Savard of Lancaster, to make these plans.

Both Hicks' stepson, Jared Morin, and his daughter, Christine Hicks Pellerin, were Ryan's friends. They and Ryan's other North Country friends kept in touch even after he moved to Arizona in 2000 as a rising senior to live with a cousin, graduated with the Class of 2001 from Buena High School in Sierra Vista, and then weeks later on Aug. 29 enlisted in the Army.

The elder Hicks and some of his family members traveled to Virginia to attend Savard's solemn burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

"Prior to the services the Army held an awards ceremony presenting his widow, Kayla, and Ryan's parents with the posthumous awards: the Bronze Star Medal (3rd Award); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; and the Purple Heart," Hicks wrote in an e-mail exchange.

"It was an honor to attend the services and an overwhelmingly humbling experience to be in that place surrounded by both those who have given their lives for their country and by many of the men who served with Ryan and will soon return to Afghanistan," Hicks continued. "It was sobering to consider the wives and children of these servicemen as they witnessed the burial, knowing that on another day it could be their husband or father! I don't think any of us fully appreciate the sacrifices they make."

The Savard family and their friends in Jefferson would like to have an idea of how many people plan to come to the Nov. 11 town hall commemoration and ask that those who are go to a new Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Ryansavardanamericanhero. A Memorial and Celebration of Life tab is on the left; clicking on it takes viewers to the event page. To indicate your intention to be on hand, click on "Going." Those who do not use Facebook may e-mail Bruce Hicks (bruce03583@gmail.com) to say they plan to come.

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